The following statement was issued today (April 30th) by Ian Sheppard on behalf of the Congresbury new village hall project team.
“Since we announced the project for a new village hall would not be proceeding we have been taking a break after the years of effort spent on trying to progress the project. Additionally I have moved house, into an old cottage which is taking up a lot of my time.
“Over the next few months we will be liaising with the relevant authorities to look at:
· The legal structure for the community café and
· Possible options for the remaining funds that have been raised. Approximately £25,000 was allocated to the new building and the rest approximately £4,000 is ring fenced for the community café.
“If Congresbury Village Hall Ltd (a community benefit society) has to be dissolved the society’s rules state funds can only be transferred to another charitable body or charitable bodies having objectives similar to or compatible with those of Congresbury Village Hall Limited.
“Whilst any decision on the use of the funds would be the responsibility of the society’s members we will ask our volunteers for their views as without them we would not have been able to raise the funds.”
The new village hall project has struggled over the last year or so and that has now come to a head. The George V trustees (Parish Council cricket, football and tennis clubs, British Legion and St Andrews school) who manage the playing fields, feel it is time for a change of approach. The Recreation club who have been working on an alternative plan have been given up to two years to progress their plan.
Ian Sheppard for the project said ‘Pre covid we were making progress with potential grant funders and a construction company provided budget costing of just over £1,075,000, for a community hub with a floor area 616m2 including a large hall, which was a priority. This would have allowed significantly more sport and recreation and broader range of activities for the people of the village.’
‘It has taken a long time to get here but a combination of the lease conditions, the King George V Trustees decision which means our planning permission will lapse during the initial period of the alternative plan, the Parish Council’s reluctance to set aside s106/CIL monies for a future building and possible limitations of grant funding as a result of Covid means we are closing the project down.’
‘Whilst we have not managed to fulfil the vision for a community hub catering for all age groups to meet the needs of the village, villagers will still be able enjoy a range of freshly brewed coffees and delicious home-made cakes in the community café, set up originally to raise funds for the project.’
‘We would like to thank our volunteers for their efforts, the people who made financial pledges and the local business who supported the project. We wish the Recreation club well with their endeavours’. Ian Sheppard
Community Coffee@Bridge House opens its doors on Wednesday 13th February at 8.45am (until 1.00pm) serving up fresh tea & coffee, tea cakes, toast, and homemade cakes. The Coffee Shop is in Bridge House, part of the Debbie Fortune Estate Agency building who have allowed the use of two rooms in line with their continued commitment to local charitable causes across all their offices.
It will initially only be open on Wednesday & Friday mornings with the hope that opening could be extended depending upon use. If you would like to volunteer to work there for all, or part of, a session then please contact Rose Osborne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are in discussions with a potential investor willing to make a substantial pledge to help the project achieve its targets, subject to some conditions. If we can finalise this pledge it will be a significant boost to the project and help with our discussions with potential funders. But the community must reach the minimum £250,000 target.
Some 127 pledges have been received so there are well over 2,000 other people in the village who could pledge.
We are working through the feedback we have received and will issue further updates over the next couple of weeks.
Part of the feedback we received from the pledge request for the new village hall, regarded sorting out the pedestrian crossing at the Precinct as some see that as a higher priority.
As I use this crossing daily and have experienced how dangerous it can be. I did write to North Somerset Council (NSC) back in 2012, but as only 1 recorded incident happened in the previous 3 years their only suggestion was using the local speedwatch group to monitor, but that did not happen.
Plans for a new village hall and community centre in Congresbury will enter a critical phase in the next few months.
So far more than £71,000 has been raised towards the project with £8,200 raised last year. In the next couple of months, the project volunteers will issue an invitation to pledge money towards the build cost.
“We have set a target of the community investing £400,000 in the building; the absolute minimum that must be raised will be £250,000,” said Ian Sheppard on behalf of the project team.
The New Village Hall / Community Centre project have changed their Facebook presence from a group to a page so that there is no longer a need to become a member. The page can been found using this link https://www.facebook.com/congresburyvillagehall/ or by searching for ‘Congresbury village hall page’ on Facebook.
On 14th and 15th December, Julia Thyer held wreath making parties at her house which raised £425 for The New Village Hall Project. Liz English arranged the catering, and several people brought soups and puddings as well as greenery from their gardens. After mulled wine and lunch, Julia gave a talk and demonstration, then the guests made their own beautiful wreaths. Julia Koblizek decorated hers with real citrus tree leaves and dried oranges while Emma used honesty seed heads, Mary Faunt created a swirl effect with her stunning design. You may see some of them as you walk around the village.
Liz and Julia thanked everyone for their generous contributions which made each day so enjoyable.
Liz also organised the fun recital The Greatest Story Ever Told given by Tim Lewis which raised a whopping £602, enabling Liz to give a total of £1,027 to the new hall.
The New Village Hall Development Trust is pleased to announced that Debbie Fortune estate agents are extending their generous support to the new building project by donating 10 per cent of their fees on any house they sell or rent in Congresbury in 2017 and nominating the development trust as their charity of choice at the North Somerset Show on May 1 when trust members will be rattling collection buckets and explaining the project to visitors from all over North Somerset. The full press release can be found here http://www.debbiefortune.co.uk/latest-news/post/1486133937/raising-funds-for-congresburys-new-village-hall
Last week, two wreath-making workshops were held in the village, raising a grand total of £310. Thanks to all who attended, those who made puddings and especially to Liz English who organised the lunch and made soup. The wreaths were stunning, well done everyone.